End User mobile connectivity

Disappointing news re mobile charger power consumption

I woke up this morning with the notion that we had far too many mobile phone chargers constantly plugged in in our house. I have one always plugged in by the bed and there were two in the kitchen and likely a couple more in kids bedrooms.

Goodness me I exclaimed! You can picture it I’m sure. These things consume power even when they are not charging a phone. How could we be so environmentally unfriendly?

I’ve dug into this and although the methodology wouldn’t pass scrutiny for a scientific paper I’ve come up with some conclusions. Disappointing conclusions.

According to an article I found on the Beeb a mobile phone charger plugged into a power socket but without a mobile phone connected to it consumes 0.01KWh a day. That would require a 115 microWatt power source.

Also according to the Beeb (fair play) there were by October 2012 six billion mobile phones in the world. If there was one plugged in charger per mobile phone then assuming they were all disconnected from their phones at the same time they would consume 6,000,000,000 c 115microWatt or around 697KW.

That means that one of the generators we have for our Newark data centre could power the whole world’s mobile chargers in their passive state (if that’s the right terminology). Interesting eh? 🙂

All a bit disappointing mind you. I was hoping to come up with some shock horror revelation that would enable me to quantify the power consumption in terms of numbers of nuclear power stations required, but I can’t.

Nevertheless I’m going to instil a discipline at home of unplugging these chargers when not in use. Except the one by the bed that is  – it’s a bit awkward to get around the back of the bedside table.


Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

6 replies on “Disappointing news re mobile charger power consumption”

Taking a quick look it seems that HP and Google have pulled the HP Chromebook. Makes you wonder how on earth they aver got past testing into production with the power supply problem. Smacks of incompetence to me.

A wise soul once taught me a trick that allows you to gauge how much power is being wasted by most household devices using only the human senses.

1.) Place your hand on the device. Is it warm? Excess heat = power consumption and often signifies electrical inefficiency.
2.) Does it make a noise? Sound waves are energy.
3.) Does it emit light? Light photons are energy.

One notable exception to this is devices which include a radio transmitter as it is not possible for the body to sense radio waves, but by and large you can walk around your house feeling for excess heat to work out whether or not it is worth the effort of unplugging your device.

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